Score: 7.92

Money-can’t-buy amazement meets old-fashioned fun. Lady Elliot Island, the southern-most coral cay of the Great Barrier Reef (accessible by air from Bundaberg or Hervey Bay) is set smack bang in the centre of marine national park. Stay in unpretentious, comfortable accommodation, with table tennis, beach volleyball, quiz nights, star gazing and turtle watching laid on. And swim with giant manta rays. Says Peter Everitt, “Lady Elliott Island is one of the only places on earth you can do this. Stunning beaches, crystal-clear water, and the surreal activity of experiencing the graceful manta rays in their natural environment – this is heaven.” More info: Lady Elliot Island


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